Friday, February 19, 2010

"Lonely Already"

Hey, it's been a whole week since my last journal entry. Well, I been busy. Aside from the occasional inconvenience of doing my regular job, I've been putting the finishing touches on the latest sculpture, and documenting it.

Hey, I figured I'd also update my profile image with something a bit more sophisticated. I chose the image in keeping with the slightly dark nature of my personality. But, if I ever decide to run for Congress, I can use the above picture, which makes me look like obvious presidential material... in Latvia.

Hopeful, dreamy, distinguished, looking towards the Future, which is obviously Stage Left, giving me just the right touch of wholesomeness and humility such that, uh, the electorate will ignore my arrest record on drug and unregistered weapons charges.

But enough about that. I'd rather talk about the latest sculpture. It's a cabinet. And there's a story behind it.

About a year and a half ago, I helped a friend of mine, Lance Friedman, through a minor trouble. (Lance operates a glassblowing studio called Shatter Glass Group, LLC, the oldest glass studio in Chicago. You can see his work here. And, what do you know, he has a online journal as well. I didn't know that). Lance's power had gone out, and his glass furnace was losing temperature. This furnace is a pot furnace, meaning the molten glass is contained in a large crucible within it. If the glass cools too much, it cracks the pot. If that happened, Lance would have been, well, temporarily fucked, in that he needs a new pot and has to clean out the furnace with a jackhammer.

So, he calls me to unload the glass into 55 gallon drums filled with water, before it gets too cold. Which I do, seeing as he is my friend. Once we were done, he offered to pay me for my time and troubles. Greedy little guy that I am, seizing the opportunity, I simply asked for the glass. And so I ended up with about 50 pounds of some really nice casting glass.

Okay, fast forward about six months. The glass is sitting in plastic buckets at the college, and I have done jack squat with them, because I have zero ideas what to do with it. None. Finally, I get a break. There's an old guy in the sculpture class named Jim, who wishes to have a mold made of his face so that he can make several copies in clay for a project. I assist him in making a plaster mold in exchange for a few copies of his face. I make the copies in wax.

About six months after that, during the Winter break, the kilns become available, and I am able to cast in glass the wax faces. (I need the kilns for three weeks in order to do this. Casting thick glass takes a long time to anneal).

So now, I have the two faces. I actually know what I want to do with them. I follow my normal materials heuristic, and create bronze frames to hold the glass, and then a wood cabinet to hold the glass and bronze.

I even have a theme planned out in advance. And here I have to digress for just a slight moment.

I've always liked glass, but only certain kinds of glass. I've never been a big fan of shiny, but cast and etched glass I like very much. I like the matte surface and texture. I like the subdued grey colors of rough clear cast glass. It reminds me of fog, I suppose. And storm-tossed seas. And glaciers. And overcast days. Huh, must be the Northern European aesthetic in me.

So, the minute I cast the faces, I says to myself "These guys are ghosts".

Not that I believe in ghosts, but not believing in something has never stopped me from using it as a theme, or concept, or mood creator. So, a ghost box is what I have to make.

Here's the finished piece. It's called "Lonely Already". To me, its sad and funny. Poor, trapped ghosts, probably recently deceased, already unhappy and wanting company to while away eternity, or at least that part of it they have to spend in the box. Enjoy.

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